By John Baron
Work to restore historic Calverley Old Hall to its former glories continues to gather pace – along with plans for a new stone sculpture in the grounds.
The Hall, on Woodhall Road, dates back to the 12th century. It been everything from a grand manor house for the Calverley family, complete with its own chapel, to a farm and cottages before falling into disrepair, with thieves helping themselves to stone, and landing on English Heritage’s At Risk register.
The Landmark Trust, a charity which rescues historic buildings to make them available for holiday rental, bought it in 1981, renting out newer cottages attached to the historic hall once existing tenants had moved on.
A successful bid to the National Lottery secured £1.6million in 2022 to transform the entire building into a space for up to ten people to stay. In addition the funding provided for a community room to be made available to groups in the village.
A fresh planning application from the Landmark Trust was submitted just before Christmas for a stone sculpture in the grounds of the Grade One Listed building.
The application says the shape of the sculpture tapers slightly towards the top, with a rougher edge at the apex to allow water run-off and to avoid it appearing too formal in nature. The stone will have two sides which are carved in a manner which is inspired by the painted chamber, and two sides which are more natural stone faces, with minimal carvings on these two sides.
A design statement submitted to Leeds council with the application stated: “The piece is crafted from Hillhouse Edge sandstone sourced from a local quarry in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire.
“It is a reflection of the sandstone used for the building. It will be hand carved using traditional methods by a professional stonework artist, and has been designed using ideas and designs from a series of community workshops, where participants were asked to reflect on how they felt Calverley Old Hall could be best represented.
“There are therefore references to the found archaeological objects in the building, the painted chamber, the restoration project and public engagement workshops which have been held on site, traditional craft skills used in the process and the history of the Hall itself.”
The plans can be viewed in full here.
Council planners have also given the green light for work in the building itself.
They have just approved a planning application for new external oak louvres to the southwest facing first floor window in the Parlour Block and the installation of solar glazing to the slimline double glazed panels within the new bronze casements. A perimeter raised oak section will also be applied to the floor to conceal cabling and 5amp plugs, along with new door cases and environmental controls in the form of a Building Management System.
Approving the plans, a council report stated: “The proposed works as a whole are considered to be acceptable and will not impact negatively upon the historic character and appearance of the grade I listed building. Consequently, the proposal will not have a detrimental impact on the special or historic interest of the listed building or the character and appearance of Calverley Conservation Area.”
The approved plans can be viewed here.